The gambling bill presented to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, awaiting signature, could mutate the Prairie State into the gambling capital of the region. Illinois will soon have many more casinos and would witness a massive legal expansion of the gambling sector.
Betting could be available in places where lottery tickets are sold, like convenience stores or gas stations. State revenue from expanded gambling pool will help fund public projects like schools, colleges, universities and would benefit Pritzker’s $45 billion capital plan considerably.
During the deepest pitfalls of the Great Recession, in 2009 Illinois lawmakers embarked on a similar gamble: Within 2 whole working days, legislators introduced and passed the Video Gaming Act. That was Illinois’s largest gambling expansion since the invention of Lottery, in 1974. But it will all change with the signing of the 816-page gambling bill.
Pritzker, in a news announcement, expressed his support and appreciated the lawgivers who had tried to expand the gambling sector in the land for years. He stated:
“Legalized sports betting and expanding gaming will create jobs up and down the state … where communities hungry for employment will see 10,000 new jobs. Gaming expansions in this state have been attempted and failed for years. … Today is a win for the whole state.”
The sports betting lottery ‘pilot program’ alone is expected to generate massive revenue for the state. The states’ earning will range from $58 million to $102 million a year. The exact launch date of the pilot program has not been announced up till now, but the end date has been scheduled for 2024.
Under the current canopy of plans, retailers can participate in the expanding venture. About 2,500 lottery retailers would be allowed in the first year, and another 2,500 retailers would be allowed to participate during the second year of the sports lottery pilot program.
Sports betting may also be allowed at the racetracks, casinos, and stadiums; but betting on college sports, is still prohibited. As for now, least six casinos along with a mega-casino in Chicago have been planned. The bill also includes plans for 500 slot machines at Midway and O’Hare airports in Chicago. The Chicago slots are expected to earn close to $37 million a year and would even surpass the revenue generated from slots at the McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, which has about 1,300 slots.
Customarily, up to 4,000 “gaming positions” are allowed in a city casino; it includes slot machines and seats at blackjack tables. But under the new gambling law, Illinois is about to get double of that number. According to the Sun-Times, the Illinois lottery will offer a license of $20 million for a company that would operate the multiple betting Kiosks.
Illinois seems all set to embrace the gambling expansion under Gov. J.B. Pritzker and is waiting for his capital plan, “Rebuild Illinois” to swing into full action. Now, it’s just about waiting.